The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmers' unions, termed the Centre's decision to allow APMC mandis to avail financial support from the Rs 1 lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund an "empty gesture".
On 8 July, Thursday, the Union Cabinet made this modification in a bid to keep its promise that the new farm laws won’t result in a complete dismantling of APMC mandis.
But on 9 July, the farmers’ body said that the Agricultural Infrastructure Fund was “highly misleading”. They reiterated their criticism of the three farm laws, saying that the legislations will lead to the collapse of APMC mandis.
"To begin with, referring to a Rs 1 lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund is highly misleading because there has been no allocation of even Rs 1 thousand crore from the government. It has merely created a new head, under which loans can be accessed from banks,” PTI quoted the Samyukta Kisan Morcha as stating.
The farmers' body said that out of the Centre’s revised budget of Rs 900 crore for 2020-21, only Rs 208 crore had been allowed for the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.
"In terms of loans, only Rs 3,241 crore was sanctioned by the Agriculture Infrastructure till Fund as of March 2021 (Rs 4,300 crore according to some media reports). The fund was announced to be a COVID-19-rescue package and was supposed to immediately infuse Rs 1 lakh crore into the agriculture sector," the farmers' union said.
They also said that as long as the Modi government stands by the new laws, "merely allowing APMCs to access some more loans is an empty gesture".
Since 2020, farmers have been camping in Delhi to protest against the new farm laws. Despite several meetings with the Centre, there has been no headway yet towards a resolution of the deadlock.